By Zaid Jilani
Last week, Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) held a town hall meeting in Geneva, Illinois where he was peppered with questions about the Bush tax cuts. A woman stood up and asked him to explain how the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy created jobs for Americans.
Hultgren repeatedly avoided answering the question, instead choosing to bash the stimulus or claim Illinois’ economy was hurt by higher taxes. Members of the audience continually asked him “Where’s the evidence?” but he avoided providing any answer:
WOMAN: When the Bush tax cuts took effect in 2003 the unemployment rate was 6.2 percent. Now, in the ninth year of those cuts, the unemployment rate is 9.2 percent, so where is the evidence that these cuts for the most affluent actually create jobs? [...]Watch it:
HULTGREN: I think clearly the evidence, uh, well, let me say this. I get back to the stimulus, which was another thing which –
MAN: We want the tax cuts?
WOMAN: Where’s the evidence?
ANOTHER WOMAN: Where are the jobs?
HULTGREN: Good question. Let’s keep goin’. We got three minutes.
(MULTIPLE AUDIENCE MEMBERS): No answer! [...]
HULTGREN: I believe we’ve got a tax system that discourages productivity. We have to adjust that. It has to be flatter. [...] Not too long ago we raised taxes in Illinois, just in the past eight months, they already told us they spent all that money. [...] My evidence is Illinois being the number one job creator for Indiana, Iowa.
One reason Hultgren may have been unable to explain to his constituents how the Bush tax cuts created jobs is because they mostly haven’t. From 2001 to 2007, the economy endured “the slowest rate of jobs growth on record since World War II, and just one-fifth the pace of the 1990s.”